|I hear tell thar's a woman in town who'll feed us if'n we sit with her a spell|
At 5:15 every morning this week, the kids and I have been woken up by some crazy a** relentless tapping on our front glass door and windows.
After sitting up and freaking out the first few days I finally dragged my coma sleeper husband's body out of bed by his arms and pulled him down the stairs. You'd think he'd be more at the ready to protect his castle. He quickly summed up the rhythmic tapping: it's birds. Red Cardinals.
Birds who are pecking on our windows, and the glass front door. And doing it without stopping. Tap. pause. TapTap. pause. Tap.
I called our Nature Reserve Center and I was blessed with this bit of *isn't nature AWESOME!* explanation for the birds' predawn calling.
They are attacking their own reflection. These Cardinals see their glorious threatening reflection in our glass front door and are defending their territory from themselves. Can you imagine that bit of inner dialogue?
Holy Moley and I thought I had issues.
The conversation naturalist at the reserve center quickly became concerned: clearly, I did the right thing by calling. I could feel the joy she had at how indispensable her services were. She told me with intensity I could feel in her voice that what I needed to do was place masking tape in a big X over all the glass fronts to our house. Now.
My family is used to me doing things that appear to make no sense on the surface; but I had a live voice on a phone line with me this time, one that others could hear, too. Forest Ranger Mary was shouting directions: "Just X out all the reflective surfaces on the front of your house! The birds could get hurt!" I didn't want any birds hurt, I wanted to sleep, too, so I X'd away at our reflective surfaces. From space, our house must've looked like a pirate's treasure map.
We went outside to see how bad it looked.
Oh, it was bad.
Painful mortification for the two teens, for sure.
Tearful pleading from the 9 year old, "the school bus will be here any minute, mom, please take it down!"
My husband's lovely affirmation of love for me, "why the surprise, boys. It's your mom."
I stood on the sidewalk in my slippers, staring at the front of our house, shaking my head, oh...it looked like a crazy woman lived there.
"It looks like the hobos got us, mom, with those signs they leave for each other, like in the book you read to us."
Yup. It did. Exactly like train hoppers saying, "stop here."
Hobo signs were used by hobos to talk to each other, letting them know of what they could find in a home. They'd carve signs into a tree, or fence, or garage, or assemble a sign with sticks and stones, using coal or chalk.
Could be about hospitality found there:
A cross made with two sticks meant the hobo could talk Jesus and get a ham sandwich in return.
The letter "M" meant "a hard luck story gets them every time."
A diamond shape with an upraised stick "arm" meant RUN! gun on premises.
Here's a hobo sign you'd never see outlined on our driveway....
Maybe something more like this:
With this one right below it:
The old boys would be putting this one up, if'n they came on a Saturday and my husband was home.
This sign here I would save them the trouble and put up myself:
Before you start thinking I'm a bit out there worrying that hobos will find us, let me tell you, I googled it: The Knights of the Road today communicate via cellular phones, and e-mail.
And, you know, instagram.